24530 Jefferson · St.
Clair Shores, MI 48080
June 30. 2011
Casual and comfortable digs
Mike's on the Water has
personal touch and approachable fare
Mike LeFevre was
on his way to early retirement in Florida last
year when a family emergency stopped him in his
tracks. He stayed in Michigan to help out.
With Florida no
longer beckoning, he decided to return to the
restaurant business here. Mike's on the Water,
open just since the latter part of May, is the
result, the reworking of an old building that
once housed a number of enterprises.
Now one of a
string of watering holes along the Nautical Mile
in St. Clair Shores, Mike's has a warm, low-key
personality that gives it something the more
commercial spots just don't have. From the
moment a diner walks through the door of the
low-slung building in Michigan Harbor, it's
apparent that a person, not a corporation, is in
Lots of little
idiosyncrasies are revealed in both menu and
setting. Take the wine list, for instance.
Almost all of the
have a connection to water, from the inexpensive
Fish Eye whites and reds that are the house
wines to Seaglass Pinot Noir, New Harbor
Sauvignon Blanc, Arrogant Frog Pinot Noir and
Twin Fin Merlot, a nice little touch of humor
that makes the list completely approachable. I
don't know when I've seen a wine list that is
this much fun.
also the word for the fare. When did you last
see a listing for grilled bologna on onion roll?
It's a surprising hit in the early going here.
Or a "cheese" burger that's actually a robe of
cheese wrapped around the patty of beef?
The house burger,
one-third pound of beef, ground fresh daily, is
a value at $5.50, and the burger theme continues
with a trio of mini-burgers topped with grilled
onions, "ham" burgers that, yes, include a slice
of honey glazed ham, and mini-fishburgers with
Fries just have
to be good in a spot like this, and they are:
thin, just salty enough and crisp, with some of
left on, and the onion rings measure up, too.
inscribed on the paper place mats, and the fare
is served in plastic baskets atop sheets of red
and white checkerboard waxed paper by a
friendly, chatty staff.
include the long narrow bar, an adjoining
covered patio and two open decks perched on a
canal. Yes, this is on the water, but you're not
in any danger of being doused by Lake St. Clair
breakers. The lake is out there, but you'd
better bring binoculars.
LeFevre is not a
newcomer to the restaurant business, nor to the
Nautical Mile. He ran Lido on the Lake from
1982-1990 (now Rojo Mexican Bistro), and then
Jack's Waterfront from 1994-2003 (now Brownie's
on the Lake). His new venture is still a work in
progress. LeFevre plans to add an outdoor bar
seating 20 — "But not a tiki bar," he says — and
more landscaping to what is already an
even if it doesn't have that sweeping water view
we're always looking for.
One of the ways I
evaluate any restaurant experience is asking
myself "Do I want to go back?" In the case of
the comfortably casual Mike's on the Water, the
answer is in the affirmative.
Mike's on the Water
24530 Jefferson, St. Clair Shores
Call (586) 872-2630
Hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Mon.-Sat., noon-11
p.m. Sun. (Bar stays open later.)
Prices: Burgers and sandwiches $5.50-$7.75,
salads $7.50-$8.50, fried fish and shrimp
entrees including coleslaw, fries and corn on
the cob, $6.75-$13.75
Visa, MC and Discover
Liquor: Full bar
Parking: Attached lot
Wheelchair access: No barriers